David Butler

David Butler

Friends and co-workers of the Rapid City man found dead with a gunshot wound early Tuesday morning at Canyon Lake Park describe him as a kind, positive person who loved his friends and family. 

David Butler was a "family man, a friend to everyone that he knew," John McManigal, who was close friends with Butler for 40 years, said Thursday. "It's just hard not to be able to say goodbye. It's just tough."

Butler was a real estate agent with a wife, two daughters and four grandchildren, McManigal said. He said he's not sure where Butler was born since his father was in the Air Force, but he attended Central High School. Butler was a star basketball player during his high school days, said Sandy Schwan, McManigal's partner.

The 59-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound to the chest by walkers near a path at the park around 6:10 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Rapid City Police Department. A handgun was found nearby, spokesman Brendyn Medina said.

While the department has not yet determined Butler's manner of death, "we have no reason to believe the public is in any danger in relation to this incident," Medina said. 

Medina said he's not sure when police will determine the cause of death because "we want to make sure we explore every angle of the incident to get the best idea of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Butler's death."

Meanwhile, his friends remember a man who dedicated his life to his family, friends and business.

Butler was a "a very good man, a good businessman" and a "people person and very likable person" said Troy Ward, a friend and business acquaintance. 

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Ward, a real estate agent, first met him through work when Butler was a mortgage broker before becoming a real estate agent. They later became friends and enjoyed golfing together. 

Gene Hensley said he met Butler when they worked together at RE/MAX Results before Butler launched his own real estate company. 

Butler was "more than fair" as a real estate agent, Hensley said. He's "one of the nicest guys and always had a smile and always had some positive thing to say."

McManigal met Butler 40 years ago when they played on opposing teams in the Rapid City Softball Association. 

"He was always very sarcastic, but he always had your back," said McManigal, who enjoyed riding motorcycles, fishing, golfing, playing cribbage and traveling with Butler.

McManigal said Butler married his high school sweetheart and "was more than just a granddad" to his grandchildren, who he helped with school and sports. 

Butler had a "positive energy" and was able to make you feel good about yourself even when you were feeling down, Schwan said. 

Anyone with information about the death should contact the Rapid City Police Department at 605-394-4134 or send an anonymous tip by texting "RCPD" and the information to 847411.

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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